To effect change in our food and health system, we need to harness the power of consumers and make ourselves heard. Daphne Oz says we can't do it without getting every woman on board.
Women are the caretakers of society: We provide for basic needs, remedy injuries, make peace and in general play the unique and essential dual roles of (superstar) supporter and (underrated) leader. While it is easy enough to identify the many ways in which we support our family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, it might be less obvious how we act as leaders, if only because we ourselves do not recognize our unique dualist capabilities.
In the home, and when it comes to selecting and preparing the food your family eats, women play a crucial role as gatekeepers and chief adventurers. More often than not, we are the ones who decide what gets to the kitchen table—think about what a massive responsibility that is. Typically, when we think of women at home, the 1950s imagery of a mother in an apron, bringing a sizzling casserole to the family dinner table, springs to mind—and yet, where is the cultural paraphernalia detailing the shopping choices this woman made? How frequently do we see an advertisement displaying a woman weighing the option between a 99-cent can of peas and the fresh-in-the-shell variety? But then there she is, ladling out a hot, split-pea soup to many expectant children.
I wonder why it is that we give credit only for the finished product and not for the multitude of executive decisions that made it possible? More broadly, why do we not place value on the leadership role women play in securing the health of themselves and their families? It's as though there's a purposeful distraction away from the very serious goals and responsibilities that are at stake each time we put food on the table.
In my mind, if we are truly going to spark a food revolution that sprawls this country and finally allows us to set a worthy example of productive agriculture that sustains human health, we need to get every woman on board. Every time you go to the supermarket or the farmer's market or head out back to your garden, you need to be reminded of the incredible power and leadership you embody.
Why women should be seen as leaders